Based on this email discussion there are a number of factual issues:

1. Though there is a page on Meta about WMF global bans, it includes no
explanation of the procedure that is followed by WMF employees. More about
this has been said by informal email and published here. A key benefit of
setting out the procedure and the required reviews, is that the WMF can be
held accountable against that procedure, whether or not the community
supports it.

2. It has been confirmed on this email list that a number of volunteers,
not under contract to the WMF, have been given access to details and
evidence behind WMF global bans. There is no policy or procedure that
explains how volunteers are allowed access, a level of access to evidence
that is not granted for the banned user, nor even their attorney.

3. As there is no published process, it is not possible for volunteers or
previously WMF globally banned users to work out if past bans lacked the
same level of independent review, or consultations with selected volunteers.

4. There is no clarification of how WMF employees are required to report
criminal acts to the police, yet for past bans the understanding of
volunteers is that part or all of the justification for an unexplained WMF
global ban was due to serious criminal acts. The impression given is that
at the moment the WMF chooses to avoid providing reports to the police, and
actively does the legal minimum, and insists on supoenas to share any data
with the police. From past cases we are aware that evidence used to justify
a WMF global ban is not provided to direct victims of harassment, or their
local police.

It seems sensible and ethical for the WMF to publish a process that
addresses these issues. There is no benefit in keeping the procedure itself
a secret, and in practice the secrecy around bans looks increasingly
dubious and unhelpful for victims of harassment, confusing for banned users
or those (like myself) subject to bad-faith threats of bans and a snub for
the Wikimedia community.


On 19 Feb 2017 04:16, "Pine W" <> wrote:

> AJ,
> > "Just because volunteers are competent enough to deal with something
> doesn't
> > mean that they should be."
> Can you clarify that, please?
> > "Again, the difference here is between these
> > sensitive cases being handled by trained, experienced, legally
> accountable
> > professionals, or by volunteers who are part-time at best."
> I am puzzled by your lack of faith in the quality of work of our peers
> in the community. Why be so negative? We have produced Wikipedia;
> surely that is evidence that volunteers can be highly capable.
> Certainly not all volunteers are, of course, and some of them end up
> banned for good reason. But in general, I think there is good
> reason to have faith in our peers.
> I'm not sure how volunteers are not "legally accountable"; perhaps you
> could clarify that point.
> > How much time are you expecting the community-vetted volunteers to put in
> > here? Do we not already have our own responsibilities?
> I agree with you that a good use of WMF funds is to pay staff to work on
> investigations and enforcement. This can be done in such a way that
> there is always some kind of community element in a decision-maker role
> regarding whether to ban a member of the community.
> In addition to staff resources, I would like to see WMF put more effort
> into
> expanding the population of the volunteer community, particularly long-term
> volunteers who gain sufficient knowledge and experience to serve in
> higher-skill roles such as CU/OS, technical development, outreach to
> GLAM+STEM organizations, and mentorship of new Wikimedians.
> > You say that the current
> > system is broken, because... why?
> I say that the current system is inappropriate (not broken) because
> WMF should not be making decisions about who is banned from the community.
> The purpose of WMF is to serve and nurture the community, not to rule it.
> > The community doesn't deal with it?
> > That's a good thing. The community shouldn't need to deal with this
> stuff.
> > It's a blessing, not a curse.
> I agree that having staff involved in investigations and enforcement is a
> good thing.
> But as I said, I find it inappropriate and unwise for WMF to (1) have a
> largely opaque
> process for making these decisions and (2) exclude the community from
> the decision-making process.
> > It might be worth explaining some more of the
> > bans process publicly, perhaps on a wiki page, to alleviate fears that
> it's
> > just being used to get rid of people that the Foundation doesn't like.
> I agree with you.
> I think that global bans are reasonable options in some cases. In terms of
> quantity, I would like to see more of them and to see bans initiated more
> quickly, such as against undisclosed COI editors who violate the terms of
> service.
> I would also like to see better technical tools for enforcing bans. But I
> want the
> community, in some fashion (probably through some kind of committee, as
> has been suggested elsewhere in this thread) to make the decision about
> whether to impose a global ban, in consultation with WMF.
> Pine
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